Definition and History of Population Health
The term “population health” was introduced 35 years ago by Dr. David Kindig. He explained it as the distribution of health outcomes among a nation. The measures for the assessment of population health are morbidity, mortality, and the quality of life (Jefferson College of Population Health, 2014).
Critical Success Factors of Population Health
To ensure that population health is maintained, effective population health management is needed. Several critical factors influence the success of such management. First, clear goals should be established, and strategies need to be developed to achieve these goals. Second, effective population health management is hardly possible without the use of health information technology. The incorporation of technology is necessary to execute practice-based management. However, the substantial change of the entire working process has to follow the integration of technology since the current working process at care facilities does not correspond with technical requirements and processes. In addition, it is necessary to make sure that the personnel of each facility is technically competent, which may require special training. Third, effective clinical leadership is needed, as well as the development of care teams and the execution of care coordination measures (Institute for Health Technology Transformation, 2012, p. 9).
Federal and Healthcare Reform Initiatives Serving As a Catalyst for Population Health
The federal government has initiated a series of reforms in the sphere of healthcare in order to ensure effective population health management. In the Strategic Plan, the following goals were established: increasing access to electronic information, incorporate innovative technology, invest in research on the impact of IT on population health, develop the health infrastructure nationwide, secure the privacy of the electronic patient information, increase the confidence in IT products, and promote the development of national communication network (ONC, 2015). The implementation of such initiatives would make the management of population health more effective due to the fact that they increase the opportunities for information exchange and support among the healthcare facilities, as well as between them and the government. Such opportunities make population health management more effective since they make control and improvement possible. Thus, federal initiatives serve as a catalyst for population health.
Importance of Health Information Exchange as It Relates to Population Health Objectives
Health Information Exchange (HIE) is a proposal that includes the exchange of information regarding each particular patient between various facilities that provide care to this patient. Such an exchange would allow healthcare providers to work together on better solutions to this patient’s problems (Kolkman & Borwn, 2011, p. 148-149). Maximizing HIE would definitely be beneficial for the health outcomes of the population since healthcare providers would receive up-to-date, relevant information about a patient, even if they received care from a different facility. The full information would help to establish an accurate diagnosis and make sure that the treatment of one problem would not worsen the other one. In addition, it would allow clinicians to exchange their thoughts and experience regarding the treatment of a particular patient. In combination, these achievements would increase the quality of provided care, thus promoting the population health.
Recommendations for Driving an Effective Health Information Exchange Strategy to Support Population Health Initiatives
An effective HIE is a powerful tool that can be used to promote population health initiatives. To make it possible, the following recommendations should be fulfilled. First, comprehensive patient data should be maintained in electronic services. Second, the storage should be secured. Third, a single platform should be used for data management (Benton, 2016).
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Kolkman, L., & Brown, B. (2011). The health information exchange formation guide: The authoritative guide for planning and forming an HIE in your state, region or community. Chicago, Illinois: HIMSS.
ONC. (2015). Web.